Scintillating maiden hundreds by Chadwick Walton and Jermaine Blackwood catapulted Jamaica Scorpions into the Regional Super50 final with a crushing 292-run victory over reigning champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, in a lopsided semi-final under lights here Wednesday.
Walton belted 117 from 96 deliveries and Blackwood, an unbeaten 108 from 88 balls as Scorpions, sent in at Coolidge Cricket Ground, amassed a record 434 for four off their 50 overs.
All-rounder Rovman Powell smashed an astonishing 45-ball 95 while left-hander opener Steven Taylor blasted 88 from 71 deliveries, two innings which helped propel Scorpions to the highest-ever total in regional 50 overs cricket – eclipsing the 409 by Trinidad against North Windwards 16 years ago.
The total was also the ninth highest in the history of List A and represented only the second time a team had passed 400 in regional competition.
In reply, Red Force never showed any signs of producing the miracle needed and were bundled out for an embarrassing 141 off 26.3 overs, slumping to the fourth heaviest defeat ever in List A cricket.
Jason Mohammed extended his form with a fighting run-a-ball unbeaten 62 and captain Denesh Ramdin weighed in with 27, but Red Force never really recovered after sliding to 40 for four in the seventh over.
Powell returned with his varied seam to destroy the innings with a brilliant spell of five for 36 and claim the Man-of-the-Match award, while the new-ball pair of Jerome Taylor (3-27) and Renard Leveridge (2-31) provided excellent support.
Starting as favourites, Red Force had the game swiftly taken away from them as Scorpions stunned them with an exhibition of astonishing hitting.
The run-spree began in an entertaining opening stand of 174 between Walton and Taylor, was sustained courtesy of a 95-run second wicket stand between Blackwood and Walton, and capped off in a jaw-dropping third wicket partnership of 163 between Blackwood and Powell.
The left-handed Taylor gave Scorpions a flying start, racing to his half-century in the 11th over off 35 balls. In the sixth over of the innings, he combined with Walton to take 25 runs from Ravi Rampaul’s third over as the seamer leaked 43 runs from his first three overs.
They raised the 100-run stand in the 12th over and had mustered the highest opening partnership of the tournament when Taylor sliced a drive to Kjorn Ottley at point off off-spinner Jason Mohammed, to depart in the 22nd over.
All told, the American struck eight fours and five sixes.
Walton’s fifty, meanwhile, came in the 13th over off 32 deliveries and he required only another 52 balls to reach triple figures in the 32nd over, before falling lbw to leg-spinner Imran Khan four overs later after striking nine fours and and seven sixes.
Powell then joined Blackwood to ruthlessly rip apart the Red Force bowling. Blackwood, who counted six fours and six sixes overall, reached his half-century off 44 balls with three fours and four sixes before storming to three figures off a mere 79 balls.
The right-handed Powell was imperious, striking six fours and nine giant sixes as he raced to his fifty off just 25 balls — reaching the landmark with a six over mid-wicket off leg-spinner Imran Khan in the 44th over.
He was within touching distance of a century when he missed a heave at Rampaul (2-83) in the final over and was bowled.
Together, Blackwood and Powell plundered 128 runs from the last ten overs.
Needing a hasty start, Red Force got 21 off the first two overs before Taylor and Leveridge crippled the top order with key strikes.
The dangerous Evin Lewis hit three fours and a six in 17 before nicking a booming drive behind off Taylor in the third over and his opening partner Kyle Hope followed in the sixth over for 16 at 38 for two, tamely pulling Leveridge to captain Nikita Miller at mid-wicket.
Three balls later in the same over with one run added, Leveridge removed Kjorn Ottley for one to the second of five catches by wicketkeeper Walton and Taylor then trapped Nicholas Alexis lbw without scoring in the next over to leave Red Force in strife.
Mohammed and Ramdin attempted a rescue mission by adding 63 for the fifth wicket, temporarily reviving Red Force’s hopes.
The right-handed Mohammed hit seven fours and a six while Ramdin gathered four boundaries, in a partnership which took Red Force past 100.
However, once Ramdin was caught at the wicket trying to run one from Powell to third man in the 18th over, the innings collapsed spectacularly as Powell clinically destroyed the lower order to send the last six wickets tumbling for 39 runs.
SCORPIONS 434 for four off 50 overs (Chadwick Walton 117, Jermaine Blackwood 108 not out, Rovman Powell 95, Steven Taylor 88; Ravi Rampaul 2-83)
RED FORCE 141 off 26.3 overs (Jason Mohammed 62 not out, Denesh Ramdin 27; Rovman Powell 5-36, Jerome Taylor 3-27, Renard Leveridge 2-31)